The Need for a Happy Holiday

Vacations are made for enjoyment. Seeing old friends, relaxing, sightseeing, and escaping the daily grind are all undeniably appealing. But various factors including holiday stress, fellow travelers, and tiredness can sometimes make a vacay not so happy.

The Journal of Travel Research published a study that answers the question: How happy are tourists during a day of their holiday and what makes them happy? The article offers suggestions for tourism managers to enhance travelers’ experiences, as well as for tourists who want to increase their chances of a happy vacation:

How happy are tourists during a day of their holiday and what makes them happy? These questions were addressed in a study  of 466 international tourists in the Netherlands. While on vacation, tourists are generally high on hedonic level of affect, with positive affect exceeding negative affect almost fourfold. Affect balance is higher than generally observed in everyday life,  whereas tourists’ life satisfaction is not significantly different compared with life satisfaction in their everyday life. Vacationers’ socioeconomic backgrounds and life satisfaction only partially explain their affective state of the day. Most of the variance is explained by factors associated with the holiday trip itself. During a holiday, holiday stress and attitude toward the travel party are the most important determinants of daily affect balance. These findings imply that on the whole, the tourism industry is doing a good job. The industry could probably do better with more research on experiences during the holiday.

Click here to read the article, “Determinants of Daily Happiness on Vacation,” published by Jeroen Nawijn, tourism lecturer at NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences. in the September 2011 issue of the Journal of Travel Research, and click here to receive e-alerts about new research from the journal.

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